Answer: They all lost their appeals in the Seventh Circuit last week. In fact, our diligent Seventh Circuit judges issued five new opinions in criminal cases last week, and the defendants lost in all of them. Here are the highlights:
In the MySpace case, United States v. Morris (No. 08-2329), the defendant attempted to contact a minor through the minor’s MySpace page. The minor’s mother responded by creating her own MySpace page, in which she posed as a 15 year old, and began a series of communications with the defendant. After the mom agreed to have sex with him, Morris mailed a bus ticket to her so that they could meet. The mom reported Morris to the FBI, resulting in his arrest and prosecution. After his conviction for attempting to transport a minor across state lines to engage in illegal sexual conduct, Morris raised a single issue on appeal: that the person he intended to transport across state lines was neither a minor nor a law enforcement officer posing as a minor, but a private citizen conducting her own sting operation. However, it is well established in such cases that the defendant has no defense if his intended victim is really an undercover law enforcement officer, and the Seventh Circuit (per Judge Posner) found no basis for distinguishing undercover private citizens: in either situation, the criminal justice system appropriately punishes the defendant for his demonstrated dangerousness.